The time period is the near future in the small town of Darby, New Hampshire.
Two major political parties–the Biophilians and the Transfers–have replaced Democrats and Republicans, which have been rejected by the voters. A third group, The Edge, is a terrorist organization that has grown in power in recent years.
Philosophies of the Competing Political Parties:
Biophilians are existentialists, environmentalists, and just plain folks of conventional political persuasion. They believe in human beings as biological creatures who are basically good. They believe that, in working through science and traditional culture models, human beings have a fifty-fifty chance to save the world's forests, oceans, grasslands, and deserts, and to carry on the human epoch here on earth. Some Biophilians believe in God, some don't. The religious people among the Biophilians believe that human beings are evolving to a plateau where they will find God. The Biophilian motto is "All Can Be Saved".
Transfers, the minority party, believe that changes in the earth's climate will make the planet uninhabitable to human beings, because human evolution is too slow to keep up. Their solution is that human beings have to change themselves in order to adapt. They must abandon biologically-based bodies. Transfers are working toward a technology to "transfer" human identity into computer chips. People will still enjoy the pleasures of food, drink, sex, exercise and work; they will see, they will hear, they will experience touch, they will smell the roses; but their sensations will be virtual. Some individuals will choose to inhabit fabricated bodies, replacing parts as they wear out; others will exist only in cyberspace as "spirits." Since parts are replaceable a "transferred" human being for all practical purposes will be immortal.
Members of one branch of the Transfer party see themselves as colonists of other worlds in artificial bodies designed to thrive in unearthlike environments. That group plans a rocket to a neighboring planet in our solar system as a starting point. Most Transfers are atheists or casual agnostics. They are heavily funded by wealthy old people who don't want to die. The motto of the Transfers is: "Live On."
A third group, outside of the mainstream, call themselves The Edge. They are on a mission to prepare the way where only a chosen few will remain to restore the earth. They believe that the idea of human-caused global climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the major parties, Biophilians and Transfers. The Edge want to destabilize the world through any means, gain power, and restart the human epoch at ground zero. The Edge are often at a war with each others. Besides fanatics of different religious groups, The Edge includes opportunists who only want power, technophobes, thrill seekers, racists, ethnic cleansers, and disestablismentarianists.
Factions within all the parties bring complexity and variety to the game to accommodate gamers who think out of the box.
Changes in earth's environment and climate threaten the future of the human species. In particular, the world's forests are rapidly degrading. However, scientists think they have found a cure to the blight in properties found in an ancient forest in the Salmon Trust Lands of Darby, New Hampshire.
How the Game is Played:
The game revolves around a town-meeting style presidential debate in Darby, New Hampshire's new town hall. The winner–or perhaps one should say, survivor–of that debate is sure to be elected president and will lead the nation and the world toward its destiny.
Game players can be "Townies," (residents of Darby); "Flatlanders" (residents with roots outside of Darby), or "Aboriginals," members of the Connisadawaga native American tribe. Players can join a political party, a terrorist group, or sign on as lobbyists, journalists, mercenaries, or independents (Indies). Players can join with other players of the same party to nominate their candidates and impede the opposing party.
Players belonging to the major parties gain maximum points when their candidate ends up being the party's nominee, wins the debate and discredits his/her opponents. Terrorist players gain points when they disrupt the debate, destabilize the country, seize control, and establish a reform government, the politics and policies of which is determined by the player.
Darby Doomsday is a game with great flexibility. Gamers can play alone or create alliances to gain more control and influence. Players can even choose not to compete but merely to watch the machinations of other players, living and loving as ordinary citizens in the town of Darby. They can purchase building lots in Darby and nearby towns, make bank deposits, go to the dump, join clubs, take jobs, landscape their homes, and attend church services. Players can change their party affiliation at any time, or they can attempt to change their own party to implement their ideas.
In living their virtual lives players are encouraged to post their own fictionalize–or NOT–stories in text, pics, videos, and/or artwork.
The highest scores go to players actively engaged in politics, those who gain their party's nomination and win the debate or to the terrorist players who successfully disrupt the debate either through bombast or bombs.
Players advance in the game by scoring argumentative points on a range of issues. Game judges (actually a computer algorithm) awards points along with the players themselves who can rate each other's arguments. Each player is allowed one vote per issue, though more votes can be acquired through through bribery.
The creators of Darby Doomsday, the minions of Geek Chorus Software, believe their game is more than just entertainment. It's a tool to provide information to researchers about human behavior and to help world leaders make decisions. All the data from the game are fed into main frame computers, analyzed, and sold to corporations, government entities, or individuals willing to pay the fees.
Quirks of the Game:
Play is continuous, with neither final winners and nor final losers. There is only change. It's the same basic story over and over again, but with multiple endings that all lead to restarts. The writers, artists, and coders of Darby Doomsday along with the players are constantly adding new scenarios. The developers include tools so that players can construct their own characters and plots. Players understand that their contributions to the game are permanent, that is, that their scenarios go into a data base that can be used by other players and by the developers.